Ivana Meštrov, Table of Contents

History, especially the one dealing with modern and contemporary art, cannot be told without narration about exhibitions and exhibition practices that have gained important research value over the last decade.

Exhibition, understood as a particular context of the experience of art, has changed its characteristics through the last two centuries, finding its way towards wider and more heterogeneous audience, moving from salon to museums and galleries, thus becoming the communicational form of execution, emancipation and presentation of art par excellence. Its own body.

The space of the execution of art has followed the concepts and interventions of the Exhibition of Rejects, constructed the extraordinary ambiances of Surrealist gatherings, ‘multimedia’ languages of Dada, but also strict ‘white cubes’ of the seemingly politically neutral Modernism. There followed the decomposition of object starting from the late 1960s, live performances, experimental film screenings, meta concepts and post-Internet languages. Each of us can remember at least one exhibition concept that has ‘initiated’ us into the world of aesthetic experiences, simultaneously inducing recognition of certain sociohistorical circumstances. The reason for this lies in the fact that exhibition, the same as art, has its consequences. And we should also not neglect its periodically didactic character.

As we are immersed into Marko Tadić’s new exhibition space symptomatically entitled Table of Contents, we cannot but wonder of the content as we pass the series of models, miniature exhibition screens, photo grattages and other foundations and structures. Here, we are confronted with the exhibition itself, its model, projection, transference and form, but also with its egression of its own content and space of existence. So, as we playfully communicate with its relocated forms, section of selected works, we try to locate ourselves. Today, when Internet as a medium surpasses the ephemeral and unique quality of an exhibition, as well as the static quality of physical space, new spaces and forms of communication and distribution of exhibited works are being tested. All this in continuity of previous conceptual departures and strivings to depart from the classic media of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

This may be the reason why we shouldn’t be surprised that this exhibition, as well as the artworks Marko Tadić regards and displaces, bring us back to the ‘age of innocence’ of the exhibition formats, the time of 1950s and 1960s. That was the time when exhibition gained its position as a specific place of the exchange of aesthetic experience and performance of art as such. It takes us back in time when trust in the autonomous quality of art was renewed and the specifics of medium were constructed. From the present-day cacophony, opening of such chapter may seem nostalgic. However, precisely this reduction of exhibition dimension within the exhibition itself indicates a nearly ironic twist within this nostalgic character. Modern times, its languages, structures and settings are the red string leading to the stability between the model and foundation of a work in progress.

Tadić uses collage and drawing as primary media and appropriation as a base, and experiments, confronts and opposes his times. In all its ambivalence, he discretely talks of the times past, but doesn’t hide the present moment either. Within the exhibition space, a kind of a picture book is disclosed, as well as a model for animation with numerous emblematic elements of extraordinary aesthetic redistribution, but also with many blank, contemplative, white surfaces. The whole image is overruled by exceptionally visible processes of montage and composition. Through these interspaces appears the fact that art, in the name of its construction, still reaches the reality. However, its intrinsic artificial quality does not disappear from its content. The key to deciphering this content lies in the constant balance between the artistic form and prosaic life.

Ivana Meštrov